Contos Completos [ePub]

by Florbela Espanca

Florbela Espanca (birth name Flor Bela de Alma da Conceição), a poet precursor of the feminist movement in Portugal, she had a tumultuous and eventful life that shaped her erotic and feminine writings.

She was baptized as the child of an "unknown" father. After the death of her mother in 1908, Florbela was taken into the care of Maria Espanca and João Maria Espanca, for whom her mother had worked as a maid. João Maria Espanca, who always provided for Florbela (she referred to him in a poem as "dear Daddy of my soul"), officially claimed his paternity in 1949, 19 years after Florbela's death.

Florbela's earliest known poem, A Vida e a Morte (Life and Death), was written in 1903. Her first marriage, to Alberto Moutinho, was celebrated on her 19th birthday. After graduating with a literature degree in 1917, she became the first woman to enroll at the law school at the University of Lisbon.

Between 1915-1917 she collected all her poems and wrote "O livro D'ele" (His book) that she dedicated to his brother.
She had a miscarriage in 1919, the same year that Livro de Mágoas (The Book of Sorrows) was published. Around this time, Florbela began to show the first serious symptoms of Neurosis. In 1921 she divorced her first husband, which exposed her to significant social prejudice. She married António Guimarães in 1922.

The work Livro de Soror Saudade (Sister Saudade's Book) was published in 1923. Florbela had a second miscarriage, after which her husband divorced her. In 1925 she married Mário Lage (a doctor that treated her for a long time). Her brother Apeles Espanca died in an airplane crash (some might say he committed suicide, due to her fiancées death), which deeply affected her and inspired the writing of As Máscaras do Destino (The Masks of Destiny).

In October and November of 1930, Florbela twice attempted suicide, shortly before the publication of her last book Charneca em Flor (Heath in Bloom). Having been diagnosed with a pulmonary edema, Florbela died on December 8, 1930, on her 36th birthday. Her precarious health and complex mental condition make the actual cause of death a question to this day. Charneca em Flor was published in January 1930. After her death in 1931 «Reliquiare», name given by the italian professor Guido Battelli, was published with the poems she wrote on a further version of "Charneca em Flor».



Back to Top